Archives of Acoustics, 35, 2, pp. 203-212, 2010

Adaptive algorithms for enhancement of speech subject to a high-level noise

Mariusz LATOS
Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control

Marek PAWEŁCZYK
Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Automatic Control

There are many industrial environments which are exposed to a high-level noise, sometimes much higher than the level of speech. Verbal communication is then practically unfeasible. In order to increase the speech intelligibility, appropriate speech enhancement algorithms can be used. It is impossible to filter off the noise completely from the acquired signal by using a conventional filter, because of two reasons. First, the speech and the noise frequency contents are overlapping. Second, the noise properties are subject to change. The adaptive realisation of the Wiener-based approach can be, however, applied. Two structures are possible. One is the line enhancer, where the predictive realisation of the Wiener approach is used. The benefit of using this structure it that it does not require additional apparatus. The second structure takes advantage of the high level of noise. Under such condition, placing another microphone, even close to the primary one, can provide a reference signal well correlated with the noise disturbing the speech and lacking the information about the speech. Then, the classical Wiener filter can be used, to produce an estimate of the noise based on the reference signal. That noise estimate can be then subtracted from the disturbed speech. Both algorithms are verified, based on the data obtained from the real industrial environment. For laboratory experiments the G.R.A.S. artificial head and two microphones, one at back side of an earplug and another at the mouth are used.
Keywords: speech enhancement; adaptive system; line enhancer; LMS algorithm; high-level noise; nonstationary noise; earplug; active noise control
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